On Our Own Again

March 25th, 2019

A lot of fine musicians have passed away recently, but for me, the loss of Scott Walker has hit pretty hard. As one of my top 10 favorite musicians,  responsible for one of my all-time favorite albums, this blog has featured Scott Walker a number of times. His story of a teenage idol who was up there with the Beatles in terms of popularity in the UK who became an avant-garde artist who influenced Bowie and many others – a man who refused to follow trends or any conventional route to fame. Even although he wasn’t a young man, his completely unexpected passing was consistent with doing everything on his own terms.

Like many Scott Walker fans, my favorite works remain his five albums from 1967 to 1970 which combined beauty, great vocals, melancholy and meaning. I’ve even got used to 1995s Tilt, which has great beauty in the starkness of the difficult words and melodies. His work in 2000 is more difficult, but there are some glimpses of beauty in his soundtrack work for Vox Lux that was released last year. Indeed, his last two works were movie soundtracks -fitting for artist who once summarized a movie in a four minute song (Seventh Seal) and whose true-life story is stranger than much fiction. Rest well, Scott Walker, and thank-you for being a bit part of the soundtrack of my life.

Everything But The Brian X: Celebrate The News

March 24th, 2019

Just over 50 years ago, Dennis Wilson started becoming a serious creative force in the Beach Boys. It started with two songs on Friends, three on 20/20 (although one with a dubious co-writer..) and continued with the B-side of the last Capitol single of the original recording contract. Celebrate The News  is an ambitious production, featuring harmonies and melodic tricks that would make Dennis’s older brother proud, and showcases Dennis’s first great creative era.

The King Of The Surf Guitar

March 19th, 2019

It’s a reflection on us all aging, as well as maybe a particularly tough period, when this blog ends up becoming like an obituary section. Dick Dale was a key figure in the early development of rock and roll, and particularly surf guitar, which was an important influence on the Beach Boys. Two of his trademarks songs were covered by the Beach Boys on their Surfin’ USA album, and  Misirlou gained a new lease of life after the Pulp Fiction movie. Health and financial issues meant that Dick Dale’s later life was particularly tough, and meant that he was on the road right up until he passed away. He will certainly not be forgotten for his contribution to music, and spirit right to the end.

A Tribute To Hal Blaine

March 16th, 2019

In tribute to Hal Blaine, here is a song he features strongly on.

The Drummer To All The Hits

March 12th, 2019

Sometimes it seems easier to name American hits of the 60s that didn’t have Hal Blaine on them. The list of number one hits  is impressive, and that doesn’t even allow the fact that he drummed on Pet Sounds and the SMiLE sessions. Therefore it is no surprise that there has been a huge outpouring of grief as the world acknowledges the passing of the great drummer -and a huge part of many people’s coming of age in the 60s. Well played, Hal Blaine, and we will still be listening over and over again to the memories.

Still On The Road

March 9th, 2019

Brian’s touring schedule for 2019 is gradually expanding – now up to 10 dates for the year, although he does have a touring break up until May. No overseas (or even Canadian) dates yet  -but most of them are Pet Sounds shows, celebrating the classic album which will be more than 53 years old for the shows.

23 Songs For Today

March 1st, 2019

1) Heaven Is a Word -Carla Werner
2) Hide the Wine -Carly Pearce
3) Every Little Thing- Carly Pearce
4) Queen of Sabotage -Courtney Jaye
5) One Way Conversation -Courtney Jaye
6) Time’s Up -Courtney Jaye
7) 33 -Elise Davis
8) Finally -Elise Davis
9) Bells and Whistles -Emma Stevens
10) Fireworks -First Aid Kit
11) Dandelions -Joanna Wallfisch
12) Summer Solstice -Joanna Wallfisch
13) Lazy -The Last Detail
14) Peace on Earth -Lissie
15) 5 Acres of Turnips -Pistol Annies
16) Masterpiece -Pistol Annies
17) This Too Shall Pass -Pistol Annies
18) Better Place -Rumer
19) Pizza and Pinball -Rumer
20) Hobart Paving -Saint Etienne
21) Camel Coat -Saint Etienne
22) Sarah -Sarah Slean
23) Daybreak -Sierra Hull

Goodbye, Peter Tork

February 24th, 2019

Classic 60s rock n’ pop suffered another big loss on Thursday with the sad passing of Peter Tork, one of the American “fab four” Monkees. The outpouring of tribute from many people, including Brian Wilson, has been heartfelt and many people will feel they have lost another integral part of their youth. Rest in peace, Peter Tork.

It Was 15 Years Ago Today

February 20th, 2019

15 years ago today , SMiLE, was performed for the first time in London. The wait for SMiLE was a lot longer, but the first live performance is now receding more firmly into the past -for me personally, as I am sure for everyone else lucky enough to be there, it remains a moment of a lifetime. In the turmoil of 2019, it’s always good to remember that first performance, when a great artist conquered his own demons and gave the world brilliant, thought-provoking and joyful music.

Brian’s Hidden Beauties CLXX: One For The Boys

February 15th, 2019

Whether it was a deliberate tilt at the other Beach Boys or not, One For The Boys is a beautiful track on Brian Wilson’s first eponymous solo album, showcasing acapella harmonies that would make you think that Brian was still working with the other Boys. Clocking in at under two minutes, it is short and very, very sweet.